It is perfectly natural to feel nervous during a courtroom appearance. Bail bond hearings are normally held to decide how much bail should be posted, or if there is any bail required. Appearing at a bail bond hearing can be an intimidating event, especially if it is a new experience. Sometimes just knowing what to expect during the hearing can be helpful.
Chain Of Events During A Bail Bond Hearing
Some bail bond hearings are held in person, while others are held in a remote way with the judge in another location. In remote cases, the judge appears using the latest in video or remote voice technology. If the bond was not set right after charges were filed, a hearing is necessary. This hearing to set bond is usually held as soon as possible.
The defendant will normally be escorted into the courtroom. There, they must wait for their name to be called and they will move up to the podium. If the hearing is done remotely and is being recorded, the defendant will usually be asked to stand in a specific place.
The judge will usually read the charges and make a decision about whether to set bond, and will decide on the amount of the bond. Each case is different. For heinous crimes, there may not be a bond amount set. In cases when the defendant is thought to be a very low flight risk, or is no harm to himself or to others, defendants may be released on their own recognizance, with no bond required or posted.
How Do Federal Cases Differ?
In cases where a federal crime has occurred, the bail bond process becomes more serious. Larger cash amounts are required to post bond. The court also needs to take proper precautions to make sure that the money used for bond was obtained legally.
A special hearing called a Nebbia hearing may be needed, with the purpose of making sure the money was secured legally to post bond. The court may ask for things like bank records, business records, special accounting statements or tax records to show where the money is coming from. The money used to post bail cannot come from any illegal sources, or be gains derived from illegal activities, such as money laundering or drug trafficking.
Due to the extra work required and expertise needed to handle federal cases, fees charged by bail bond companies to take on federal cases may be higher. Specialized knowledge is needed to handle federal cases.
When A Bond Hearing Is Not Needed
There are cases where there is no need for a bond hearing. One time is when bond is already set at a certain rate for specific crimes. In these cases, bond can be paid and the defendant is free to go until the hearing date. Other examples include when a crime is not serious, when the defendant has an excellent record of being employed and living in the community, and when a person is not considered to be a flight risk.
When help is needed with bail bonds, the smartest move is to contact a bail bond expert. Bail bondsmen are happy to help with navigating the often confusing process. This is especially true since everything is usually happening quickly and during an emotionally taxing time.